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Fundamentals of Research Methodology

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Fundamentals of Research Methodology

Theories in psychology begin with research. Psychologists start by developing a theory based on a question regarding either a mental or behavioral process. The answers to these questions affect society as well as individuals. To gain knowledge is referred to as the scientific method. The scientific method looks at the way a question is asked and the methods and logic used to find the answer to the question (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). This paper will examine the fundamental concepts of research methodology as it pertains to psychology. It will also discuss the role science plays in psychology as well as give an explanation of the scientific method, distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data, and give a description of the process of the construction and testing of scientific theory (Class Syllabus Psych 540).

Fundamental Concepts of Research Methodology

Three contexts exist in which science occurs are moral, social-cultural, and historical. While the idea of scientific method could quite possibly be conceptual, the application of psychological science is greatly a tangible human movement that influences people on numerous stages. These influences psychologists may have an effect on include an impact on an individual level, the family level, and a societal level. The study of psychology is a scientific look into behavior and the mind as well as how both external and internal factors affect the processes of behavior and the mind. Those who study psychology attempt to gain knowledge by offering a theory and performing research and help professionals and clinicians better serve people by sharing the knowledge of the way the brain functions. This knowledge provides interventions and the proper tools needed to gain this understanding (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).

Scientific Method

As mentioned earlier, the scientific method is the approach used by researchers to gain knowledge. This approach is a methodical advance to research and entails a number of steps. The first step in the process of scientific method is to develop a research question. In order to find the right question, one must figure out what to study. Many topics can be found in scientific journals. Once the question has been determined, the researcher may then generate a hypothesis by means of process definition. Frequently a hypothesis is declared by a guess of a certain outcome as well as a reason for the forecast. Next a research design must be chosen. This includes deciding on the participants, whether to use observational, experimental, single-case, quasi-experimental or correlational designs (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).

The next step is to evaluate the ethics of the research. This entails identifying any benefits and potential risks of the research being conducted and how the welfare of participants will be protected. Once these steps are completed, it is time to collect and analyze data and form conclusions. At this time the researcher must get to know the data and be able to summarize the information and confirm the information revealed by the data gathered. The last step in the scientific method is to report the results (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).

Instead of being an instinctive process, the scientific method takes an empirical approach. When using the steps in the scientific method, certain methods must be followed by researchers to make sure validity exists in the research. The hypothesis



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